Sunday, July 21, 2013
I visit a leather bar (the DC Eagle): why the no cell phone policy?
I’m not a connoisseur of leather bars, and rarely visit them because of the “dress codes”, at least Saturday night.
But Sunday night, after an indie movie at Landmark downtown Washington, I visited the DC Eagle. I took the Yellow Line up to Mount Vernon Square and found the walk down to New York Ave longer than I expected.
Inside there were two levels open and interesting accoutrements. There were lockers to rent – Why? This isn’t the Crew Club. There was shoeshine paraphernalia and a chair on the second floor. And on the first floor, toward the back, there was a barber’s chair, taped in yellow with the word “danger”. I can imagine what might happen in the barber’s chair (involuntary depilation, as in Bazhe’s book “Damages”). (It’s in one of my screenplays – especially the one that caused the upheaval in 2005 when I was a substitute teacher.)
There were also posters for other leather bars, especially in NYC (the Mineshaft, etc.)
The bartender actually looked at my ID, despite my obvious age. That’s reassuring. (What if I was undercover, checking compliance with the ABC laws? They would have no way to know in advance.)
There was also a sign I don’t see very often in bars. “No cell phone use, except at the front door.” In fact, I’ve never seen this before in a bar, except that I heard when I was in NYC in early 2012 that patrons for The Saint’s Black Party had to surrender cell phones. I presume that means they don’t want to risk indoor photography. Is this a new thing (I've talked about recent concerns about public photography on my main blog, most recently May 7, 2013 in connection with Google glasses.) Nevertheless, on the second level, patrons were using their cell phones, surfing and the like, and no one said anything
In Minneapolis, on Washington Ave., at least the last time I was there (in 2011, or certainly in 2003 when I was living in the city), there was an Eagle leather bar adjacent to a “normal” bar, with interchangeable space. On Saturday night, the Eagle portion only enforced the leather dress code. On Monday nights, the Eagle there had Karaoke then.
I’ve mentioned the Saloon on Hennepin in Minneapolis, which was the best dance place when I lived there. In 2011, they had added a restaurant (in place of the outdoor patio, not usable in winter), and had a shower stall in one area for dancers, with a no photo sign that appeared to apply only to dancers (may have been due to a local or state law). The dance floor in 2011 was always heavily fogged.
The Eagle in DC happens, by coincidence, to be very near the offices for the popular Living Social website. That’s not quite as cool as being next door to Google or Facebook, but almost, perhaps.